Pharmacy Tech Certificate Program
How to Pick the Best One Near Gardendale Alabama
Having decided to earn your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near Gardendale AL, you may be wondering just how to select the right program to receive your education and training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately pick the right one? A number of prospective students start by looking for colleges that are within driving distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are critical concerns when selecting a college, they are not the sole ones. Internship and job placement programs in addition to accreditation are just as important if not more so as cost and location. You may also choose to take a look at some accredited online pharmacy tech programs as an alternative to attending classes on campus. We will cover these qualifications and some others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's discuss what a pharmacy technician does, the diploma and degree options available, and the advantages of online programs.
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Pharmacy Tech Job Responsibilities
Pharmacy techs have many job functions, but their primary responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must operate under the supervision of a licensed Gardendale AL pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service abilities since they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when preparing prescription medications per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they can assist customers with understanding directions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no circumstance should they ever provide medical advice regarding medications or anything else. Any such questions would be directed to the pharmacist. Some of the regular daily duties a pharmacy technician might carry out are:
- Greet and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Prepare prescription drugs under pharmacist guidance
- Input prescription and customer information into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and monitor and manage inventory
As a consequence of their profession, pharmacy techs will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also very common, especially for newer technicians with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally having to work after hours is an extremely gratifying career helping customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Degree Programs
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech college are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are essentially 2 options to training to be a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which typically can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs offer an introduction to the different aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include classroom and lab training. Many programs also include an internship at an accepted Gardendale AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which normally requires about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does offer a more expansive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program can furnish the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certification Options
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but numerous graduates of pharmacy tech colleges elect to get certified so as to be more qualified when seeking employment. Additionally, many Gardendale AL employers will only employ a tech that is certified. There are 2 organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requirements are that the candidate be at least 18 years old, has graduated from high school, has completed a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB only requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is called for every 2 years by each program, which can be satisfied by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Classes Online
Prior to selecting a pharmacy tech online training program, it's important to realize that the majority of schools do require that a substantial part of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is typically satisfied in an area Gardendale pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working with a seasoned pharmacy tech so as to obtain some work place experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training can be taken online in your Gardendale AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more accommodating for most students, especially for those who continue to work while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online schools are frequently less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and expenditures for driving and study materials may be decreased significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is provided. But not all online schools are accredited, which is important for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So verify that each online program you are looking at is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to learn with a less formal type of education, then online instruction may be the best solution for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Technician Colleges
Once you have decided whether you would like to earn a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online school or go to classes on campus, you can start to target your school options. There are many pharmacy tech colleges to pick from in the Gardendale AL area and throughout the Country, so you should develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and technical schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for programs that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Gardendale home. If you are willing to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be critical. But there are many other variables that you should consider in order to effectively compare colleges. The following questions will assist you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacy Technician College Accredited? Most pharmacy tech colleges and vocational schools have obtained a national or regional accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to furnish a complete quality education. Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with distance or online learning. Don't forget to confirm that the degree or certificate program as well as the college you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping guarantee that you obtain a quality education, it might help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may require that the training program is accredited. And a number of Gardendale AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the School Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but numerous pharmacies desire that the techs they employ be certified. The pharmacy tech college should prep its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of work experience. This qualification can be satisfied by entering a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Provide Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA mandates 1 year of professional experience for certification, which can be satisfied through an internship program. Perhaps the best way to acquire hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to fulfill the requirement. Ask if the programs have associations with Gardendale AL area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Offer Job Placement Help? Getting that initial job in Gardendale AL after graduation, particularly with no prior experience, can be a difficult endeavor without any assistance. Find out if the colleges you are researching have job assistance programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the school has a good reputation within the profession creating appeal for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a sizable network of pharmacy relationships where it can place graduates.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the school they pick will need to be within commuting distance of their Gardendale AL home. Students who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are considering what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the pharmacy technician school you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Gardendale AL area, verify that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Gardendale Pharmacy Tech School
Finding the ideal pharmacy technician training is a critical first step to starting your career in a gratifying profession where helping customers with their health is your mission. In the past, many pharmacist techs were trained "on the job". Nowadays, most pharmacists can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated technicians. Training is furnished by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacy tech programs incorporate both classroom and clinical training. As we have covered in this article, it's necessary to choose a program that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This is true both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you follow our other suggestions you will be able to compare colleges so that you are certain to make the ideal selection. With the appropriate education and dedication you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Gardendale Alabama.